Ok, so the decision to introduce charges for pre-application planning advice was introduced almost exactly a year ago now, with the charges having started on Monday 1st April 2013. However, a lot of homeowners are still unaware of this.
The council has prepared a Pre-Application Planning Advice Service Guidance Note to assist anyone who might want planning advice prior to submitting a formal planning application. The Guidance Note explains what the council will provide as part of the service, the benefits of pre-application advice, fees and charges, how the pre-application advice service will work and what the applicant / customer will need to provide in order for the council to be able to deal with the enquiry. All pre-application enquiries should be submitted on a Pre-Application Advice Request Form.
By post (No meeting):
Small Household: £25 per letter (house extensions, etc.)
Minor applications: £75 per letter (1-9 dwellings or changes of less than 1000 sq. m.)
Major applications: £250 per letter (10 or more dwellings or change of 1000 sq. m. or more)
Meetings (with letter):
Small Household: £50 (for a 20minute meeting)
Minor applications: £150 (for a 30minute meeting)
Major applications: £450 per hour
Often with home extension projects there can be areas of uncertainty when it comes to what is and isn’t likely to be approved and with an eight week time constraint for obtaining a decision, it bodes well to find out as much information as possible from the outset. Of course, your assigned designer can advise and guide you based on their experience of the local area and previous projects, however each and every project is different.
If you are unsure of the likelihood of obtaining a positive decision for your development proposal, then a quick letter to the council and a payment of £25, could save you a lot of time and money in the long run!